Sunday, October 7, 2012
2012 Topps Update: A tradition continues
For the most part, my collection is based on sheer randomness.
Sometimes, I'll come back from a card show and have no clue as to why I bought a few of the cards I did.
Although I do take the time to neatly organize and file all of my cardboard, it can be madness at times.
That's why I need a little consistency to balance everything out.
One of the reasons I've come to love Topps Update so much over the years is because it brings that stable presence to my collection.
For a collector such as myself who bases their collection largely by team, seeing some of my favorite players in their new uniforms on cardboard is one of the most simple joys in the hobby. Update takes care of that joy every year.
Topps Update brings the idea of consistency to my collection on a more personal level as well.
I've bought a hobby box of the stuff every year since 2007.
The above picture is an "update" in itself, as I know there's shots of me holding up my 2010 and 2011 Update boxes around here somewhere.
I'm not one of those people who have the budget to bust box after box of baseball cards. Update joins Series 1 as the only boxes I've opened this year. (The Series 1 box was a birthday gift.)
In a way, that's a good thing. It keeps the joy of busting a box pure and, most of all, fun.
Breaking the seal off of my shiny new box of 2012 Topps Update continued my annual tradition around these parks.
As it turned out, those 36 glorious packs had a lot in store for me this year.
One of the first packs I opened yielded this Chipper Jones short-print.
Given that he recently played his final big-league game, I picked the perfect day to pull it. The trade market proved to be a fantastic place to take this one.
It's a fun card, but it's already been swapped for a nice pile of this year's '87 minis.
I'll take that over a gimmicky short-print any day.
Even though they're a bit out of my price range, I've always enjoyed these silk cards.
In fact, there's a good bet that you'll find my only "keeper" one of the sort high up on my Top 100 list, whenever that time may be.
Unfortunately, the Ziegler isn't a "keeper" for me.
It's still a pretty nice piece, though.
The front of every Update box advertises that each one contains a "hit" of some sort.
This was my hit. A sticker autograph.
It's a good thing I don't buy these boxes for the "hits".
Those are all fine and good, but let's get on to the cards I'll actually be keeping for myself.
In a rare twist of fate, one of my bigger "hits" from the box actually turned out to be a great find.
Like the silk cards, my budget isn't vast enough to acquire as many of these black parallels as I might like.
Still, I've take 'em where I can.
Luckily, my box yielded a black parallel of new Angels reliever Jason Isringhausen, one of the players I was most looking forward to seeing in his new duds. (Numbered out of just 61 copies.)
I even managed to pull the base card of "Izzy" for good measure.
Back when 2012 Topps debuted in January, I thought it was a bit odd that Topps decided to omit the numbered gold parallels.
Especially in a year which the "gold" theme seemed to be emphasized so much.
The "gold sparkle" parallels have been there from start to finish. They're back in Update.
As it turns out, Topps decided to give the gold parallels the "Cognac treatment". Update packs will include numbered gold parallels all 990 cards from Series 1, 2, and Update, similar to last year's "liquorfractors".
I'm a huge fan of the gold parallels, but even I think that's a bit of overkill on Topps' part.
The Golden Moments, Golden Greats, and '87 Mini insert sets all make their triumphant returns in Update.
The minis were the only ones I was happy to see. I was sick of the Golden Moments/Greats after my first blaster of Series 1.
In my view, Update's 1987 minis are the best of all. One of the best aspects of the original '87 Topps set was the rainbow-ish "Future Stars" labels that accompanied the likes of Bo Jackson.
Staying true to the original, Topps included the colorful designation on today's "future stars", such as Bryce Harper and Yu Darvish.
That alone made the minis one of my favorite parts of the box.
Making their debut in Update is the "Blockbusters" insert series.
I knew I'd love these from the moment I first heard about them. I've always had a weakness for newspaper-themed inserts, such as Topps' "Year in Review" set from a few years back.
Plus, big franchise-changing swaps are among my favorite aspects of baseball lore.
Although I wouldn't classify Ramirez-for-Eovaldi as one of "The Biggest Moves in Baseball History" just yet, it's still safe to say that these are a couple nice pieces of cardboard.
Even with those big, ugly trademarks.
For a "low-end" collector such as myself, the base cards are the meat of the box.
It's the reason I've bought Update so consistently over the last six years.
As I mentioned before, it's a great chance to see some of your favorite players in their brand-new uniforms. (Although I still don't understand why Topps had to give the short-print treatment to Youkilis as a White Sock or Thome as an Oriole.)
For my money, base sets don't get any better than Update.
This year was more of the same.
Although he's not in my binders, Shawn Camp's first card as a Cub is an absolute masterpiece. I'll be keeping this "throwback" in my miscellaneous "cool" pile for now.
Binder or not, I could never bring myself to let this one go.
A fantastic shot of one of my favorite players in-action.
This is the type of photo I'd love to see on more cards. Now that I think of it, there aren't a lot of shots that depict a close pickoff play.
If this one is any indication, that needs to change.
Another fine example of Topps' increased focus on photography in 2012.
Design-wise, it's pretty much been an average year. The "surfboard" doesn't stand out all that much.
Yet in terms of the photos, it's far and away been the best year to be a fan of flagship. Topps definitely succeeded in that realm.
Plus, Update gave me my new favorite card of Giancarlo Stanton in the process.
As usual, the "Home Run Derby" cards are back in Update.
Granting a horizontal issue to this year's Derby winner was a nice touch on Topps' part.
That doesn't change how ugly those jerseys are, though.
Update's All-Star subset makes a return in 2012 as well.
I've noticed that these are starting to take up bigger chunks of the checklist, given that so many players end up being nominated to the All-Star team these days.
Still, these have always been a welcome sight in Update over the years.
After all, the All-Star game is a special time for baseball fans.
Recently, I've been more lenient in letting rookies into my binders.
Cespedes has been in since I first saw him on Opening Day. He's quickly become one of my favorite players to watch.
After a bit of deliberation, I decided to "induct" D'Backs prospect Trevor Bauer into my collection as well.
One look at his awesome long-toss routine made sure of that.
Rookies and All-Stars are cool and all, but let's get to the best part of Update.
Guys in their new uniforms.
Although Jonny Gomes has quickly become one of the leaders of the up-and-coming A's, he hadn't had a card issued with the franchise until Update came along.
This was easily one of my favorite pulls from the box. It's a prime example of Topps' new emphasis on photography. (I'm still trying to figure out what Gomes is holding in his left hand.)
This is the type of shot that only the game of baseball could provide.
Although I've been rooting against them all season, I have to admit that the Tigers played a heck of a game this afternoon.
Easily one of the best ballgames I've watched all year.
I'm still getting used to the sight of Brandon Inge in an A's uniform, given the ties he's had to the city of Detroit during his career.
The Dotel is a record-setting card. The Tigers are the thirteenth team Dotel has played for, the most in baseball history.
While the uniform has changed, Dotel's "uncardogenic" self evidently hasn't.
Here's a couple of this year's biggest deadline deals in their new uniforms.
Although he probably didn't live up to expectations during his time in Anaheim, I'm still excited to have a card of Greinke as an Angel, my favorite non-Chicago sports team.
Going into my box of Update, there was one card I was really hoping to pull. Had I not gotten it, I might have labeled the entire box as a disappointment.
Luckily, about ten packs in, this fell out.
My very first card of Ichiro as a New York Yankee.
It'll be my first issue of his that won't take its place within my Mariners binder.
Going into this year, I figured I'd get my same fill of Ichiro cards showing him in that familiar Mariners jersey. However, the baseball season had other plans.
To put it lightly, Ichiro getting dealt to the Bronx proved to be one of the most shocking moments of my baseball life.
In time, I'm sure I'll get used to seeing Ichiro in uniforms other than the Seattle blue-and-white.
For now, though, anything else just looks out of place.
Still, it's a historic day for my collection.
Overall, I'm definitely satisfied with this year's Update product.
I've heard countless stories of some collectors having cases of "buyer's remorse" after purchasing a couple boxes that weren't all they were cracked up to be.
That's never been the case with this set. It's always given me everything I could ever want from a set of baseball cards.
Topps Update is as consistent as they come.